Saturday, August 28, 2010

Canon 7D vs Sony FX1

I'll try to be as straight to the point as I can but first understand this. I have a huge passion for both photography and videography. I've always loved video cameras but with the new trend of DSLR cameras being able to shoot true HD, I've been in deep thought on what to get if I could only have one. Lucky for me, I was fortunate to get both but I was very interested in know which camera is better for what. By the way, this is only my opinion and it's what works for me. The real test is when you do your very own based on whatever it is that you shoot.

Canon 7D vs Sony FX1:

Before I delve into my testing let me say that there is a ton of thinking ahead that needs to be done before you even try to compare these two cameras. Both cameras produce out of this world amazing footage.  My results may not mean diddly-squat to you so. If anything, maybe what I have discovered will give you something extra to think about. Now that we have that straight, let's begin.

First you need to do this: Think about what and where you're shooting. This includes, location, the ground where you're shooting,  is it indoors, outdoors, are your subjects going to be moving or sitting still... that kinda stuff.

Then think about what kind of program you'll be using to edit ( Final Cut, Adobe Premier, Avid, Sony Vegas ). Now lets get to the nitty-gritty.

I shoot a lot of motocross. This involves high speed movement, outdoor shooting and most of the time the ground is never level. My choice... Sony FX1.

Likes of the FX1 on motocross...

1. The Sony FX1 is a video camera, so it's made for... you guessed it, video. The auto focusing is fast enough that you'll be able to follow any kind of movement and do any kind of zooming, all at once. You'll hardly ever see your subject out of focus.

2. Their big or bigger than the DSLR cameras so there much easier to hold steady. You can easily get away without a tripod when you have to. This is what I meat about looking at the terrain you'll be shooting. Try centering a tripod up on a small hill will all kinds of small dirt mounds or gaps... no fun there!

3. The Sony FX1 uses DV tapes. While this may be old technology, you'll never have to worry about your memory card filling up and being out of room for footage. Unless you have big bucks and can buy a pocket full of huge compact flash cards. If not then I hope you have your computer with you to empty your cards. With the FX1, you just pop in another tape and your rolling, plus you'll always have the hard copy as back up. If something ever happened to your footage, you can always go back and re-capture the DV tape. If it's all digital and you loose your computer to hard drive failure... you have nothing. And it's gone forever!

4. The DV tapes are cheap but you gotta remember that this is an ongoing expense. So that's something you'll have to think about.

5. Your battery will more than likely last way longer than your DSLR battery and lastly, they seem to be built stronger for hot temperatures. And we all know what a hot summer it has been. Keep your DSLR out in the heat and that thing will feel like a hot bowl of soup.

Dis likes of FX1 for motocross...

1. I really can't think of any to be honest. Just to make it seem like I really did test both of these cameras, I'll just say that the Sony is heavier than the Canon 7D!!!

2. Quality??? That's really your decision. I think their both great.

3.The one think the real nice thing the Canon 7D has to offer over the Sony FX1 is the ability to upload hours worth of footage in minutes. How fast your footage uploades depends on what kind of computer you have and if you have fast card and card reader. With the FX1 you have to capture in real time. If you shoot a couple hours worth of footage, then it's gonna take a couple of hours to capture.

I also shoot weddings. My choice, the Sony FX1. Here's why...

The DSLR camera will shut off in 12 minutes. Most people will say... " who and when do you ever need to shoot longer than 12 minutes ". And I say, "  I do and when I'm shooting a wedding " You might be surprised with the times you'll need your camera to record longer than 12 minutes!

Here's the deal. The FX1 is just a work horse camera with amazing quality. You can use auto focus or manual focus with ease and it has nice audio. The Canon 7D has audio but I don't think it's as nice as the Sony FX1. Plus there is no auto focus. This makes it extremely difficult to keep moving targets in focus. Especially if they're fast moving targets.

If you're shooting inside and you don't have to follow a moving target and you're computer is by your side. Then it's Canon 7D all the way. This camera produces amazing high quality in any kind of situation but since it's so light, you have to have some kind of stabilization. Whether it's a tripod or a shoulder mount. Remember when I said to look at the terrain? A level floor is way easier to set up and get it level than a hill with gaps.

The bottom line for me is this... The Canon 7D does not have auto focusing so if you're gonna use it for action or movement, you better get to know your focus ring. And the fact that it's so light, you absolutely have to have a tripod or something to hold it steady. If you can hold a SLR camera steady without a tripod then you must be dead!

 Although I had big concerns with the Canon 7D shutting off after running for 12 minutes, it has turned out to be one of the least of my concerns. But note that it's because I have a nice video camera.

Oh and I almost forgot. Are you in to photography? Then you'll know what I mean when I say you've got dust on your sensor. Those aggravating specs are easy to clean on a still photo but try doing it with video footage! Think about it. You're in a hurry and you rush out the door. All you can think about is the nice footage the Canon 7D creates, You shoot the entire day only to get home and see very noticeable, dark dust specs all throughout you're precious video. Yeah... lets not think about that nightmare.

So here is my last and final draw on the Canon 7D.What editing software do you use? I use and love Final Cut Pro but in order to work with video files from the 7D, you have to use a different codec.  After your footage is re-formatted, then your sitting on go. If you're using Adobe Premiere CS5, then you should be able to work with the files straight from your Canon 7D.

Okay so enough talk, here is my bullet list of likes and dislikes on both cameras.

Sony FX1 likes:

  • Built for video
  • Has fast auto focus
  • Manual focus
  • Ability to hod camera without stabilization
  • There is no need of a computer or huge expensive memory cards for footage
  • You'll always have a hard copy to re-capture if anything horrible happens to your computer
  • Beautiful amazing quality
  • Batteries last a long time
  • People see you with a video camera so they know you're shooting video

Sony FX1 dislike

  • Have to capture in real time. Hours worth of footage means hours worth of capturing
  • DV tapes is an on-going expense

Canon 7D likes

  • Beautiful amazing quality
  • Light and easy to carry around
  • The ability to take amazing photo but with the flip of a switch, you can take amazing, true HD video
  • Easy and very fast uploading to your computer
  •  Killer depth of field
  • You can use all your nice glass

Canon 7D dislikes

  • You need big memory cards if you want to be able to hold a good hours worth of footage
  • You need your computer with you if you want to empty your card
  • Nearly impossible to hold steady, you must have a tripod or something equivalent
  • No auto focus
  • In 12 minutes, your camera movie mode will shut down, whether you're recording or not
  • It take extra time to re-format your footage
  • Way, way, way too easy to get dust on the sensor
Now after all of this talk I used  a small video clip from both cameras so you can see for yourself. Like I said you'll need to do your own testing to see which one you like better.

Check it out:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Andrews 8.21.10

Let's see, where do I begin...

I had a great time shooting all the riders at Andrews MX this past Saturday. Maybe it was the weather cause it wasn't quiet as muggy and humid out ( although I'm almost holding my breath for fall ) and the track layout was worked up to my most favorite layout.

Another thing I like about Andrews is that you really don't get to rest much. Especially with this new layout. There are lots of turns and lots of braking bumps. But that's a good thing you know... it's what separates the men from the boys. Feel free to approach Mike with that phrase and I'll bet he'll say the exact same.

Anyhoo, back to the subject! I had a great time. The track was in great shape and I even got a huge sand-spray sandwich ( cough, Cory Brambert, cough ).

If you didn't make it out then you missed a good one. 

I'm already looking forward to next weekend already!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Andrews 8.14.10

After what seems like a lifetime away from shooting motocross, I finally made it back out to the track. I headed back out to Andrews and witnessed a record breaking crowd on hand. And let me tell ya, there were definitely some fast riders out there.

I was a little hesitant to break out my camera since the dust was getting out of control but with so many riders on hand and the heat bearing down, controlling the dust was nearly impossible. Still, there was no way I could leave with getting at least a few shots.

Check out a few that I snapped from Saturday.

 This is proof that Mike Andrews is dedicated to his track. All throughout the day, he would pick times when not many riders were out so he could water the track. The guy is just dedicated to what he does.

Change is coming

That's right, change is coming. There have been several updates that needs to be fixed so don't be alarmed if there is a new look to the blog.