Canon EOS 1Dx for shooting video
I remember being very excited to see what Canon would come up with in the 5D MK III. When they finally released it, like many other filmmakers I was very very disappointed. I knew many photographers who were over-the-moon with their new 5D MK III, rightly so, it’s an awesome stills camera. Lets not forget that is it’s primary function. But for us weirdo’s who use DSLR’s for video it left a lot of us considerably underwhelmed.
Yes they have given us some nice video related features with the 5D MK III but so many key issues were unresolved. Sometime later people like Philip Bloom started scratching around with the 1Dx. Canon’s current flagship DSLR. For stills shooters I can see the 1Dx is an amazing camera. What it offers photographers at that price it’s hard to not love it! But Philip Bloom http://philipbloom.net/ had shot sections of a music video with a 1Dx and seemed very enamoured with it. This was just what I wanted to hear after being so disgruntled with the 5D MK III. So I decided to get my hands on one to play with.
Philip describes the 1Dx as having something special about it, hard to put his finger on but nonetheless a certain lovely something. I have to say I totally understand what he means. I can’t quite put my finger on it either. I have studied 100% pixel blow ups comparing the video resolution of the 1Dx and 5D MK III and it’s hard to see any great difference. But when you view rushes from the 1Dx the images just look lush.
The 1Dx is a serious pro piece of kit with a price tag to match, one could comfortably purchase two 5D MK III for less than a 1Dx. Indeed you could get your hands on both the 5D MK III and the Nikon D800 for less than a 1Dx. I have to say the Nikon D800 is a kick-ass DSLR. It’s no wonder many stills shooters have grabbed one for themselves. So bearing in mind the cost difference between these cameras can I justify paying the price for a 1Dx, taking into account the difference in video output is somehow indescribably better but its hard to know why?
Yes and no is my answer. I personally think the 1Dx when used as a stills camera and a video DSLR is definitely worth the money. However if all you do is shoot video then you have to consider other options such as Canon’s own video camera the C100 which costs less and is after all a dedicated video camera with some lovely features and none of the nasty drawbacks of DSLR’s for video. You have to except that the 1Dx, albeit delivering a more pleasing video image, still doesn’t solve many of the short falls of DSLR’s for video. Heck it doesn’t even have a headphone socket to monitor audio! Yes moiré seems well handled as does aliasing, but jellow is still there, no audio input with XLR’s or phantom power, the rear LCD is fixed into the body of the camera, necessitating a separate monitor or EVF. But it does resolve much more detail than previous video DSLR’s such as the 5D MK II or 7D.
So why would you buy a 1Dx for video when Sony have some very tasty offerings now, Canon’s C100 sounds very promising and new HD video cameras with some amazing spec’s seem to be announced every week or so lately! (Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera!)
Well for me I love the ergonomics of pro body DSLR’s like the 1D series over the likes of the 5D MK III or Nikon D800. When I buy a new DSLR the first thing I do is attach a battery grip to its base so it forms a larger more hand filling shape. I have quite large hands and the 1Dx fits into my hands perfectly (no grip required). Some shooters I know have smaller hands and don’t like using battery grips or full size pro bodies. It’s a personal preference thing. I like the way the 1Dx’s buttons fall under my fingers. Does that justify buying it for video? Probably not. For me the special look of the 1Dx’s video, the ergonomics and its pro build quality all combine to make for a very compelling choice for shooting video. That’s not to say I wouldn’t still consider the C100, but in conjunction with the 1Dx. But now were getting into a different price range where one could almost consider the ludicrously expensive yet deliciously absurd Canon 1Dc or even a C300, Sony’s F55 or even a RED! (well almost). All of which have significant advantages over a 1Dx and C100 combo.
So the 1Dx sits in a very tricky position for me, it’s not quite good enough for me to not need another video camera yet its price makes it a very expensive purchase if it’s not to be used day in day out as my primary video camera. The wise filmmaker would wait a while to consider their options, to learn more about all the other camera options that have come out recently and I’m certain there will be even more cameras to choose from in 3-4 months time. Will I buy the 1Dx then? Probably, as a filmmaker I’m drawn to that special look it generates that I cannot quite describe!