Canon EOS 1Dx for shooting video

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.

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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!

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14 comments on “Canon EOS 1Dx for shooting video

    • True, and its galling to think that the 1Dx is a firmware crippled 1Dc but to be honest clean HDMI out isn’t that exciting as it requires a more cumbersome rig with external recording with demanding file sizes and workflow. The 1Dx codec isn’t bad mind you and image quality far surpasses the 5D3 for video. How are you finding your 1Dx?

  1. Well, I like very much the stills aspects, though it can be a be challenging to work with to get things the way you like…. I like the video from it too, although it — and the 1DC camera (which I do not have (yet?)) — really need to have some focusing tools, like peaking, for the on-camera LCD…. because, like you have said, using it with an external monitor (with peaking, etc), and/or external recorder (if clean HDMI), really changes the nature of the camera….. (a small EVF might have been better option) I have a Marshall 7 inch monitor I got for it with all the viewing options (peaking, etc)….. but this makes it kind of a tripod queen….. I think I’d go with a 1DC, IF it had more video ergo options, or if it were a bit cheaper, but who knows?… Maybe the C300 — or the BMPC (if it ever comes out) might be a better option….. I’m going to Africa soon, and it would be nice if I could take some 4k video while there, with the same camera I shoot stills with…, just saying…. I’m a bit new to the video DSLR stuff….

    • Hi, indeed the 1Dx is a great DSLR for video, the 1Dc has some very nice added features and from what i hear its pretty much the same camera with headphone socket and different firmware, very frustrating that it costs so much more the the 1Dx!!!! Te GH3 is a great little camera for video and stills too. The BMPC camera will only do video not stills which is a shame otherwise its a fantastic looking camera indeed! Hope your shoots went well in africa!! Regards David

  2. I have 1dx, my friend have 5dmark3, I’m more interest in video n my friend in still so he wants mine n I want his but mine is double the of his. So what should I do?

    • The answer is easy, you should keep your 1Dx and he should keep his 5DMK3!! The 1Dx is superior to the 5D3 when it comes to video, its sharper, and some how more film like. The 5D3 is excellent as a stills camera. I don’t like the 5D3 for video but i would definitely use it for stills 🙂

  3. I Wanted to know if 1dx is good for shooting movies. Also ,if it’s possible to shoot in flat in order to color correct and color grade 1dx footages in editing. Thank you sir for your time

    • Hi Dorji,
      The 1Dx is currently (April 2014) the best video performer of all the Canon DSLR’s, with the exception of the 1Dc of course. The 1Dc is the only DSLR to offer a “Log” style profile for flat colour and high dynamic range suitable for grading in post. The 1Dx has standard colour profiles like all Canon DSLR’s although there are some settings out there you can plug into the !Dx to get as flat as poss. The 1Dx video performance beats the 5D3 comfortably. Its also better than newer cameras such as the 6D and 70D. I highly recommend the 1Dx its a great camera, however for video i would also mention the Panasonic GH3 which is considerably cheaper and IMHO better than the 1Dx for video. I own both. The soon to be released GH4 beats them both by a long margin, its quite incredible!! Kind regards David

  4. If you could please help me with 2 questions.
    what camera settings to use while shooting a feature film in 1dx ?
    I have a 16-35mm f/2.8 & 24-70mm f/2.8 canon lens. I was thinking of buying a 70-200mm f/2.8 canon lens. Is it better to buy a prime lens or the 70-200mm canon zoom lens?
    Best regards- Dorji, Bhutan

    • Hi Dorji,

      OK camera settings for the 1Dx for filming obviously will vary depending on the situation but some baseline guides are: Try to keep the shutter speed to 1/50th for 25P (PAL) or 1/60th for 30P (NTSC) You can go higher but bear in mind it changes the way moving objects are represented in terms of motion blur. Sometimes it can be a desirable effect but usually its undesirable. If your production schedule allows for it always perform a manual white balance for each scene. Double check the manual white balance with a trusted external monitor, either calibrated or of known colour rendition. Use the flattest colour profile you can find. Try to use the cameras native ISO when possible. Don’t go above ISO 6400 if you can help it to avoid grain. Always keep your exposures in full manual unless the scene requires an exposure change that you cannot avoid. Shoot with aperture settings that give the appropriate “look” to your footage, don’t just use the fastest setting because you can. If you have lenses with IS (image stabilisation) keep it on unless you are using very high quality tripods or a steadicam rig etc.
      As for lenses the Canon 70-200mm lenses are some of the best lenses in the world (IMHO) The 2.8 IS MKII version is absolutely fantastic, if i had to choose one lens only to shoot with it would be this lens. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far then the F4 IS version is very sharp too!! It also weighs a lot less. If you need faster than f2.8 then you will need primes like 85mm f1.2-1.8, 100mm f1.8, 135mm f2 etc. Personally i would go with the zoom for practicality as its so good. Primes can be faster and sharper but aren’t as flexible obviously.

      Hope that helps

      Kind regards

      David

  5. Thank you so much sir, it really helped me. You mentioned about the canon 1dx failing to switch on-intermittent fault.
    Is that the problem with every 1dx camera or is it bcus of the updates.
    What is the solution for this problem?
    For shooting feature films which camera would u recommend canon 1dx or 5d mark iii?
    Kind regard

    Dorji bhutan

    • Hi Dorji
      Its a fault that has effected a handful of 1DX cameras and is unrelated to updates. Whatever i was shooting i would favour the 1Dx to the 5D3, its better all round.

      Regards David

  6. Sir when I edit the 1dx clips on cs 6 there it
    Flickers, do you Have the same problem:. Glad you can me out.
    King regard
    Dorji Bhutan

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