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DSLR vs. Cinema EOS


Okay, so I am an amateur producer/photographer. I got my first DSLR abour four years ago (a used Canon EOS 7D Mark I), and initally used it for photographing still images. After a few years I moved into shooting video with it, and I absolutely love the way my videos turn out. Rechently, however, I've been noting people shooting with Canon's Cinema EOS series. Now I know nothing really about the difference in specs of different cameras (my dad has a 60D and besides physical layout, I don't see much difference), but I have to assume that the C-series of cameras would better suit me than my 7D. I am shooting mostly fast moving sports right now (football, wrestling, cheerleading...). So I guess my question to you all is this: what is the difference between my 7D and the Cinema EOS series? How hard would it be to switch from my DSLR to a camera like the C100 or C300? And would it fit my current needs for a camera?






The transition from shooting video with a DSLR to using a Canon Cinema EOS body is night and day.  I would compare it shooting photos with a smart phone, and then moving up to using a professional grade DSLR.




Would a Cinema EOS body fit your needs?  I cannot say.  You really have not described your “needs.”  


You will most definitely see an improvement in dynamic range and detail.  The entry level C100 has 12 stops of dynamic range, but your lens selection may be limited to a few EF-S STM lenses, if you want to use the Dual Pixel AF.


Next, Software.  You must have the proper software that can open the MTS video files.  The Movie Utility that comes with a DSLR cannot open the files.  Adobe Premiere Elements can open the file, but it cannot apply the LUTS profiles to the video files.  You will need full blown Adobe Premiere for that, or another application whose name escapes me at the moment.  Simply put, spend some big bucks for software.


Do not get me wrong.  You can use the Cinema EOS C100, or another body, without the LUTS profiles and get really impressive results.  It is just that you will get really awesome image quality when you use the LUTS profiles, especially if you record to an external recorder, instead of relying on the internal memory cards.  

"The right mouse button is your friend."

As for my needs I am shooting mostly outdoors right now, lots of stadiums with poor lighting so my 7D is usually at iso6400. This is usually sufficient but I would like something that can go up to 12800 or even higher (does it go higher?). In the winter and spring months I move indoors and don't have this problem as much but it is still occasionally an issue. I am shooting fast moving sports as well.


Coud you also explain dynamic range and Dual Pixel AF? I've been doing this for a couple years but I'm still pretty green. But I was told that the C-series is compatible with most canon lenses?


I am currently using Blackmagic Studio's DaVinci Resolve for my software. As a broke college student this was a no brainer for because it is a very versatile software whose free version is very close to on par with some of the big boys in the industry, and it's free! Again, I am not sure what MTS files or LUTS profiles are, but if dropping a few hundred bucks on software is needed to switch over to the C-series then I'm gonna have to forget that they even exist!


Here is a link to the most recent video I produced. Most of my videos I don't put a TON of time into (about a day or two in post), but since I updated my software and strted using plugins I plan on spending a week+ on them.


This second video was a very early work of mine but one I spent a little more time on, creating a few effects without plugins.


Hopefully this gives you a little better idea of what im looking for performance-wise from the C-series!

I am not a video shooter.  Perhaps someone else that has video experience can answer those questions as it pertains to vid.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

At this point, I do not think a Cinema EOS Camera is for you.  First and foremost, one might break your limited budget.  You do not seem familiar with basic concepts of general photography, such as dynamic range.  Video is more complicated than photography.


“  ... poor lighting so my 7D is usually at iso6400. This is usually sufficient but I would like something that can go up to 12800 or even higher (does it go higher?). “


What lens and aperture setting is are you using?  The first video appeared to have been shot on an overcast day.  A lens with a wide aperture, f/2.8 or wider, would have been appropriate.  Are you able to use your camera in Manual mode to shoot stills?

“Could you also explain dynamic range and Dual Pixel AF?  I’ve been doing this for a couple of yers but I’m still pretty green.”


After a couple of years of experience?  Dynamic range is a basic concept of digital photography.  It is a way of describing the signal to noise ratio of an electronic signal.  In the case of digital photography, one could say that wide dynamic range manifests itself as high contrast images.

Dual Pixel AF is an exclusive feature of Canon imaging sensors.  I will not describe what it is because your apparent lack of understanding of the basics is too great.  After two years, you do not even speak the language.  You have not even begun to scratch the surface of what you need to know.


To be proficient at shooting video requires a firm grasp of still photography, which you seem to be lacking.  A Cinema EOS camera is pretty much like shooting with a DSLR in Manual mode, and then some.  If you want to improve upon your 7D, then I suggest that you purchase a camcorder.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

I agree with Waddizzle that you really need to spend more time delving into some of the basics of still and moving image capture.  I spent years in the 35MM film world before buying my first 1 series DSLR.  My 1DX M2 does a nice job with video but I wanted something dedicated to video primarily for sports shooting and after looking deeply into the EOS Cinema series I decided that a much less expensive Canon XF400 was a better solution for my needs.


I know a lot more about shooting stills than video and frankly video does not and never will hold as much interest for me.  I don't think my 1DX M2 DSLR has been in P mode since I bought it but I have shot quite a few videos using the XF400 basically as a point and shoot.  I have resolved to spend more time experimenting with it and better utilizing its capabilities before winter arrives.  


With the XF400 I do sometimes miss having interchangeable lenses and an EOS cinema model with EF mount looked interesting for that reason among others but the XF400 lens does what I need it to do even though it doesn't have the quality of my L series lenses.  I will be adding a couple of very expensive lenses for the 1DX M2 in the next few months so if I feel the need for higher quality video I will use it but for the involvement level I want with video at the current time the XF400 capabilities and form factor are perfect for me.


Waddizzle makes a very good point in that you can't really understand the importance of various features (like DPAF) and technical specs (like dynamic range) without first having an understanding of how all of this fits together into image capture. I came into photography from an electronics background with a deep grounding in fundamentals including dynamic range and still found it a little difficult to explain the practical implications to a friend who has been long-involved in photography.  From a practical standpoint you are probably best served reading a wide range of product reviews avoiding those (or at least taking with several large grains of salt) those reviews written by those whose primary purpose is providing a positive review instead of a fair examination of benefits and drawbacks.  Reviews will be a good way of better understanding how these specs and features impact the types of situations you plan to capture.


I am usually quick and confident in product choice decisions but I spent over a week making a video camera choice and really nothing was perfect for what I wanted and needed but the XF400 was a very good choice for me.  Now I am in the decision process of whether the low light and improved AF capabilities of a 400MM F2.8 would be more useful to me over typical sports shooting situations than the extremely versatile and lighter weight but slower 200-400 F4.0 with integrated 1.4X extender lens.  Like a video camera the best choice is not instantly obvious to me and I am definitely not buying both of these choices 🙂  I suspect I will rent both before making a final decision.



EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

"Waddizzle makes a very good point..."

Of course I don't read waddrizzle posts so I don't know what he said but I doubt its accuracy.

Here is the deal. DR has two components in photography.  The subjects DR and the camera's DR.  If the subject dynamic range is bigger than the cameras dynamic range and one part of your subject will be either under or over exposed. As long as the dynamic range of the subject doesn't exceed the dynamic range of your camera you will be able to get a perfectly exposed photograph. This is where you should use your histogram. If the histogram fits inside of the histogram display screen then the dynamic range of the subject is within that of your camera's ability to record it.  It's that simple.


How this pertains to vid I don't know and don't pretend to but it seems to have spilled over to stills here. "I know a lot more about shooting stills than video and frankly video does not and never will hold as much interest for me."  This is me too.


You know another "Golden Rule" in photography is, expose for the highlights.  Shadows are dark and it is hard to see detail there, if you have to loose dynamic range it is almost always preferable to loose in the shadows. But remember, if the subject's dynamic range is greater than and will not fit in the histogram, you need to choose where you will lose information.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

I say there are *three* components:

The camera DR

The subject DR

The scene DR



"The camera DR

The subject DR

The scene DR"


Scene and subject are nearly the same thing.  How much DR can the camera record and how much DR does the scene or subject have.  You are correct in thinking the total scene might have and effect on the subject. This is where you choose what to lose. What is important?

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Yeah, I was mainly thinking that you might choose to lose details in the sky when correctly exposing a portrait.

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