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Thread: Full Frame 35mm Video Camera

  1. #1

    Default Full Frame 35mm Video Camera

    Hi, I'm new to Digital Director and returning to video production following a very long break (please see my profile). Please excuse me if I'm being naive but I'm on a new learning curve and need this research quickly and would be very grateful to receive help.

    It seems that many people go to great lengths to get their videos to appear as filmic as possible (within a budget) and use add-on devices like the Letus 35mm adapter and similar. Now that the Canon 5D Mk2 has appeared (at half the cost of a good adapter) with excellent quality results Canon has proved that it is possible to produce a full frame 35mm camera for both stills and video for a very reasonable price. So why hasn't Canon (or any other manufacturer) produced a dedicated 35mm full frame video camera yet with more video-orientated facilities? Or am I missing something? Or is there one in development?

    I'm a Nikon (DSLR) user (D2X) at the moment. Which type of lenses are you able to use if you employ an adapter like the Letus? Are they the old manual type or can you use recent lenses like I would use in my D2X? I just need a kick start in this part of my research as I don't want to waste time and money on a system which could be superseded very shortly with a camera like the one I've described above.

    Thanks in advance.
    Colin Cadle

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
    Blog Entries


    Not an expert - no first hand use. However...

    AFAIK most 35mm adaptors will wrok ' normally' with 35mm lneses and have the same f length in use.

    Full frame 35 mm video cameras are avaialbe but only at the top end of the market.

    To get the best from the increaed perf of a full frmae ccd / cmos a much higher data rate is needed.

    DV / HDV comsumer cameras run at 25mbit/sec and the consumer market is happy with this. Full frame cameras need to produce data at a much faster rate - as high as 1 gbit/sec - and the cost of the data storage bit of the camera is this very high.

    As for the ' film look ' - well its about far more than shallow dof - lots of directors hardly use it after all.

    In my expirience a good camera with 12.5mm / 0.5 inch chips can give a shallow enough dof with a small amount of zoom on a std lens - but not that nose sharp ears blurred look that a full frame sensor can give.

    Some f frame cameras.
    RED / Index
    Sony Product Detail Page - F23
    Viper FilmStream Camera
    Arriflex D-20 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    As you can see they cost a bit more than the average autuer can afford. The sony is about 100,000 !
    Last edited by Mark W; 02-09-2009 at 02:31 PM.

  3. #3


    This is something I'm also pondering Colin.
    The results from the D5 Mk11 speak for themselves:

    Vimeo Staff Picks on Vimeo


    1. It's a much cheaper camera.
    2. More flexible in terms of lens fitment and availability.
    3. More flexibility in terms of creativity (DOF, stop motion, time lapse)
    4. Shoots 1080 25/24p or 25/24i
    5. Full frame sensor
    6. Lighter tripods, dollies etc.
    7. Excellent low light sensitivity

    1. Data storage issues for longer shots
    2. Doesn't have he directorial authority of a large camera with lots of knobs and buttons
    3. Poor audio capture hardware

    So the question is:

    Why not include the sensor in a prosumer camcorder (EX1 type) with a 35mm lens mount?

    The amount of data coming from the Canon DSLR sensor (38mbit/sec at 1080/30p) is adequate to produce a super smooth HD shot at a commercial frame rate.

    Is it that it is it is highly compressed H.264 that is the problem? I've only been able to view samples on my Mac LCD screen and these have obviously been transcoded for streaming. Is the quality not up to larger screens (40"+)?

    I'm just posing the questions. Apologies if I'm being a numpty or have got the technical facts wrong. I just think it's an interesting debate and a curious situation for the industry to be in at the moment.

    I'm in the same place as you are Colin at the moment. The DSLR looks like a much more versatile/cheaper tool for the work that I'm doing but I feel like I'm missing something important.


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